Eyecarrot is a Canadian startup on a unique mission. They’re using mobile platforms and user-friendly tech to advance human vision performance. When it came to their fast-growing team, the company knew they’d need the same technology to ensure smooth scaling and a great employee experience.
We spoke with founder Adam Cigielski to find out how Collage’s cloud-based HR helped Eyecarrot bring their tech values and employee experience back into focus.
Most of us have heard that too much screen time is bad for our eyes. Canadian startup Eyecarrot sees things differently. The company has developed unique smartphone-based technology that can actually help people improve their ability to see.
It all began when founder Adam Cigielski’s son was diagnosed with a binocular vision disorder that affected his ability to read and play sports. In the process, he became aware of two glaring problems with modern eye care:
“First, nearly two billion people—that’s one in four worldwide—struggle with vision disorders that can’t be treated with glasses or surgery,” explains Adam. “Vision therapy exists, but is difficult to access due to lack of awareness, high costs, and outdated tools.”
The second problem is that even when patients are diagnosed, rehabilitation is a painfully archaic process.
“My son was going through his vision therapy, and his doctors gave us this huge binder full of vision exercises that we had to go home and fill out by hand. It was a broken experience. People are struggling to read, and you’re giving them binders full of paperwork? The tools are completely outdated, it’s a long and painful process, and no data is being captured to improve it.”
“My son was going through vision therapy, and his doctors gave us a huge binder full of paperwork that we had to fill out by hand. It was a broken experience.”
Eyecarrot was born to make vision therapy a better experience for doctors and patients. “Our mission is to transform vision therapy by making eye care technology more accessible, scalable and fun than ever before.”
That mission is on track to succeed. Since launching its Binovi eye exercise system earlier this year, Eyecarrot has been on a fast-growth trajectory with no signs of slowing.
This has meant confronting the many challenges that come with scaling a product and a small business at the same time: lack of resources, undefined processes, and far too much paperwork for one person to handle.
The solution? Leveraging user-friendly technology at every step of the way.
Part One: Solve Problems That Matter
One of Eyecarrot’s mission statements is to “solve problems that matter.” This is applied in everything the company does: from its mission to help billions of people improve their vision, to daily decisions about where to focus their small business resources.
“As a startup, we’ve had to make tough choices about where we focus our resources,” says Adam. “We put the focus on hiring development support, which meant that we’ve all had to wear many hats. Everything from marketing and sales to HR, customer support, and finance had to be juggled by a few people.”
Once again, paperwork and outdated tools were damaging the experience: “We were using spreadsheets to record employee records, benefits updates, and time off requests,” explains Adam.
“As the company grew, it became a real challenge. If somebody wanted to update their information, it often wouldn’t get done. We didn’t have processes, or at least, nobody knew them.”
Time off management was a particular sore spot. Between emails, spreadsheets, and various calendars, vacation requests got lost in the shuffle. “Sometimes it would come as a complete surprise that somebody was on vacation, and we didn’t know until the day-of. As a small team, we had to make it work. But we all thought there had to be a better way.”
“Between emails, spreadsheets, and various calendars, vacation requests got lost in the shuffle.”
Part Two: Improve Access with Technology
As with their product, Eyecarrot turned to cloud-based, user-friendly technology to fix the broken employee experience. Zaheer Merali, Head of Operations and Marketing—and incidental HR administrator—found the answer in Collage.
“One of my primary roles is to make a light and efficient leadership team using the right set of tools,” explains Zaheer. As the team began to grow, he knew that the earlier they could establish simple processes—like how to update personal information, request time off, and onboard new hires—the more smoothly they could scale.
“If we weren’t using Collage, I wouldn’t know how to reach people in an emergency or know who’s on vacation. I’d have to track down a spreadsheet or search through emails. For everyday tasks, we don’t have the time or resources for that,” says Zaheer.
“If we weren’t using Collage, I wouldn’t know how to reach people in an emergency or who’s on vacation.”
“Cloud-based HR has enabled us to set up simple processes that don’t take a lot of time, that make things very easy for managers and employees, and that keep everything in one safe spot. When someone needs access to information, it’s one app or one click away, whether they’re sitting at their desks or on their phones at home.”
As for the trouble with time off, Collage helped solve that, too. With automated time off management, one-click approvals, and calendar sync, Adam, Zaheer and the entire team can rest easy.
“It’s great for consistency and transparency,” says Zaheer. “Because it’s so easy, everyone uses it to see who has time off and why. It’s great for keeping people informed so that everyone can stay productive and plan ahead.”
Part Three: Set Sights on Growth
As of April 2017, Eyecarrot has officially launched the Binovi platform for modern vision therapy and training. The company will also be launching its app in Spain and Germany in the next quarter, followed by further global expansion. It’s a time of exciting and significant growth for the innovative tech company.
“Today, we’re solving the problem of how outdated tools and paperwork can ruin an important experience. But ultimately, we want to use technology to make the experience better and more accessible for everyone,” says Adam.
“We want to use our platform to help modernize vision therapy in all its applications: helping kids to overcome learning challenges, helping people recover from concussions and other brain injuries, and helping amateur and professional athletes excel using the full potential of their vision.”
As the company’s mission grows, so too will its team. Luckily, they’re more than ready for the challenge.
“Collage has given us the confidence to grow knowing that we have the right processes in place to support us. It’s efficient to manage, it’s simple and elegant to use, and it has helped us become more organized and equipped to handle the growth we see ahead.”
“Collage has given us the confidence to grow knowing that we have the right processes in place to support us.”
Thank you to Adam, Zaheer, and the Eyecarrot team.